ON TOP OF THE WORLD

Joel Cassells is presented with his gold medal.
Joel Cassells is presented with his gold medal.

Joel Cassells is currently taking a well-earned rest after his gold medal winning performance at the Rowing World Championships.

The Coleraine rower produced an excellent performance alongside Sam Scrimgeour in the lightweight men’s pair to pick up the gold in Aiguebelette, France on Friday.

The lightweight pairs is a non-Olympic class but the performances of Cassells and Scrimgeour could put them in contention for promotion to one of Britain’s Rio berths for next year.

Cassells is certainly hoping that he will be spending next summer in the sunny climes of Brazil.

“I’m going to the Caribbean for a well deserved holiday, then I’m back home to see the family,” he told Times Sport after his win on Friday.

“We get three weeks of in total then it’s back to the winter block leading to Olympic trials next year.

“I hope to build on the results from this year and win the coveted spot in an Olympic boat. After today I’m more determined than ever.

“It’s my aim to win an Olympic gold medal.

“I’m a little lost for words at the minute to be honest, what a feeling!

“We were a new crew combination coming into the competition so we had no idea what to expect. We knew from the Lucerne World Cup that the Italians and the French were the ones to watch.

“We took it race by race, build better and better profiles and went into the final determined of what we wanted to achieve, And it paid off!

“It definitely makes a long difficult season worthwhile. World Championships is the pinnacle of our sport, excluding the Olympics, so it’s very special to win here.

“It’s very special to me as Peter won this even back in 2011 with Kieren Emery. So finishing here just makes me even more determined for next season.”

Fellow Bann men Alan Campbell, Peter and Richard Chambers were all competing in France, which was an Olympic qualification event.

Campbell and Peter Chambers qualified their boats through the B Finals. Richard Chambers though won silver in the lightweight double sculls.

Cassells is hoping to draw on their inspiration if he gets the nod for Rio.

“Watching them compete back in 2012 definitely inspired me and showed me that I could have a rowing career beyond junior rowing, and proved to me that GB Rowing was the place to be to do it,” he said.

“They’re heroes to the town, so therefore there are big expectations to follow in their footsteps.”